SIR: I write to express my concern, shared by many other residents, over the city council’s consultation on its proposals for the regeneration of central Winchester.

In 2017, a consultation was conducted by JTP Architects and a larger number of people of all ages and backgrounds responded than they had ever experienced anywhere else. They produced a Supplementary Planning Document that received wide support from individuals and businesses, and the council adopted it. But before it could be actioned, the political colour of the council administration changed.

The new council decided to reinvent the wheel, and appointed different consultants to come up with a new plan, the one on which they are currently consulting. At about the same time, the Town Forum commissioned a third set of consultants to involve the community in creating a Vision for Winchester. This was presented to the Town Forum on December 1 to acclaim from both Lib Dem and Conservative members (Chronicle, December 3).

There are some good ideas in the council’s current proposals, but several of the most enthusiastically supported ideas that came up in the JTP consultation are changed, watered down or completely unmentioned, for example:

• keeping buses and coaches out of the regeneration area;

• establishing pedestrian and bicycle routes through it;

• opening up the buried waterways;

• converting and extending the Woolstaplers’ Hall into a Museum of the Saxon Age;

• and building a music performance space that could also accommodate conferences during the day.

Similarly ignored are ideas from the Vision for Winchester exercise, such as an ‘art corridor’ designed to appeal to young people, running from the new sports pavilion in North Walls Rec, through the School of Art, along Middle Brook Street, and across the regeneration site to the Broadway.

And the methodology of the council’s current consultation is seriously flawed, with a built-in bias apparently designed to show more support for the plan than there actually is. For example, the Feedback link from the council’s online exhibition does not allow people to ask the questions to which they want answers. Instead, it takes them to a multiple-choice questionnaire.

As Joanna Lewis said in her excellent column in last week’s Chronicle, this “consultation” raises concerns that it is a sham.

Tim Fell,

Bereweeke Avenue,